Fabiola Santiago

Florida GOP congressman called Democrat ‘this girl.’ How she struck back hit home.

Ron DeSantis; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ron DeSantis; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Congressman Ron DeSantis — this boy or whatever he is — thinks it’s OK to disparage women when he disagrees with their political views.

So I thought I’d give the Trump errand boy and young fascist a taste of his own medicine.

We’re all squirming at my language now, aren’t we?

But mocking and dismissing is pretty much what DeSantis, a Ponte Vedra Republican and GOP candidate for Florida governor, did to the most talked about woman in America these days: New York Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

His aim at a campaign event Saturday in Orange Park was to score political points with Trump base voters. The president has endorsed him and is holding a rally for DeSantis next week at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

And DeSantis got the laughs he was looking for attacking a Hispanic woman.

“You look at this girl Ocasio-Cortez or whatever she is, I mean, she’s in a totally different universe,” DeSantis said, butchering her name. “It’s basically socialism wrapped in ignorance.”

But let’s see whose ignorance truly shines in this fight.

Ocasio-Cortez is a newcomer to elections, but her powerful messaging and brilliant grassroots campaign in New York unseated comfortable, white male, 10-term incumbent and party stalwart Joe Crowley. Unless you’ve been living under a non-political rock, you’ve seen her charisma, heard her progressive ideas and read about her rising star.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young Puerto Rican activist, defeated a 10-term incumbent to become the Democratic nominee for a congressional seat in New York. ANNIE TRITT NYT

And she’s far from alone in the endeavor to upend the status quo in both the Democratic and Republican establishments. She’s part of an unprecedented wave of women running for office across the country who just might take the country back from misogynist President Trump — and save us from the American brand of fascism and catastrophic policies he and politicians like DeSantis peddle.

DeSantis, for instance, represents a place where the beachfront is literally disappearing — thanks to breach erosion, rising seas and the neglect of the state’s Republican leadership — and he legislates in Congress against climate-change measures.

It’s no secret why Trump is campaigning for DeSantis instead of rival Adam Putnam, another Trump devotee and proud self-avowed “NRA sellout.”

While others in Congress were writing a bipartisan bill to limit the president’s power to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, DeSantis added a rider to the 2018 spending bill to end funding for the Mueller investigation, saying that the Department of Justice order establishing the Russia election meddling probe “practically invites a fishing expedition.”

Given the indictments of Russian operatives and the criminal money-laundering charges against former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort — whose trial is scheduled to start July 31, same day that Trump is holding his big DeSantis rally in Tampa — I’d say Ocasio-Cortez’s brilliance far outshines DeSantis.’

But I think the Yale and Harvard graduate is smart enough. He’s just a political opportunist — and like his master, he doesn’t value women enough to treat them with the respect they deserve. That they’re ideological opponents isn’t an excuse. He should learn the lesson quickly. He might end up facing a woman himself in November, as former congresswoman Gwen Graham is vying to be the Democratic candidate for governor.

In picking a fight with Ocasio-Cortez, the North Florida good ol’ boy has truly met his match.

Her comeback to DeSantis is brilliant — and hits home.

“Rep DeSantis, it seems you‘re confused as to ‘whatever I am,’ ” she struck back on Twitter. “I am a Puerto Rican woman. It’s strange you don’t know what that is, given that 75,000 Puerto Ricans have relocated to Florida in the 10 months since [Hurricane] María.”

That’s what I call a slam dunk, congressman. It’s the kind of messaging that won her the nomination, and she didn’t need to dismiss you as a boy or whatever.

You also should know that more than a million Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, lived in the state even before María. Being born in Jacksonville, where Puerto Ricans have been the largest Hispanic group for decades, you might have noticed .

You, running for statewide office, need the Puerto Rican vote, which is becoming more powerful than the reliable but dwindling conservative Cuban-American vote you’re courting.

That’s right. Those Puerto Ricans whose “girl” from the South Bronx you mocked will soon be voting for a new Florida governor.

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